University of Iowa President Sally Mason to Speak

Posted April 1st, 2009 at 10:52 am.

On Thursday, April 2, at 7:30 p.m., the “Celebrating Women Scientists as University Presidents” lecture series will continue with a talk by University of Iowa President Sally Mason. Titled “Unexpected Paths: Women in Academic Leadership,” the presentation will take place in Ely Room of Bryn Mawr’s Wyndham Alumnae House. The lecture is sponsored by the Katharine Houghton Hepburn Center and the Center for Science in Society.

Mason is the 20th president of the University of Iowa, as well as a professor in the university’s Department of Biological Sciences. In her first year at Iowa, she started an initiative to make sustainability a central priority of the University’s operations, its academic mission, and its greater responsibilities to society.

The first member of her immigrant family to attend college, Mason received her B.A. in zoology from the University of Kentucky, her M.S. from Purdue University, and her Ph.D. in cellular, molecular, and developmental biology from the University of Arizona in 1978.

After two years at Indiana University doing postdoctoral research, she spent 21 years at the University of Kansas, where she served as a full professor in the Department of Molecular Biosciences, acting chair of the Department of Physiology and Cell Biology, and associate dean in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.  In 1995, she was appointed dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the largest academic unit on the University of Kansas campus. From 2001 to 2007 she served as provost of Purdue University, where she was instrumental in the development of Purdue’s Discovery Park, an interdisciplinary research incubator focused on such topics as nanotechnology, entrepreneurship, and biosciences.

Mason’s research interests have focused on the developmental biology, genetics, and biochemistry of pigment cells and pigments in the skin of vertebrates. She currently co-chairs the Task Force on National Energy Policy and Midwestern Competitiveness of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, a national task force exploring how likely upcoming energy and climate change legislation will impact Midwest economic competitiveness.

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